Driver side axle is too short by 1-1½ in

Tiny
ANONYMOUS
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 ACURA INTEGRA
  • 118,000 MILES
Driver side axle is too short by 1-1½ in.
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 10:31 PM

20 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Come on; add some details. Is this a replacement shaft or the original one? What preceded this problem? Is this a rebuilt, used, or original shaft?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 10:35 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
Replacement shaft. I recently just bought the car and the axle broke and when I installed it I poped into the trans tried to put the bolt on and theres not enough axle for the bolt to go on completely. It also has KyB shocks and shunk2 coil overs if that has anything to do with it.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 10:40 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
By "too short" do you mean the the threaded shaft that is part of the outer cv joint? I thought you meant the entire assembly was too short and the inner joint was not staying inside the transmission. Compare the old and new ones side-by-side. If they are different you have a shaft for some other application. If they're the same, you're not getting it to come all the way through the splined hub. Usually that's just because you haven't wiggled, pushed, and yelled at it enough. When it's lined up it will pop in due to the pressure of the spring in the inner joint.

Also look if there's a toothed tone ring on the outer joint for an anti-lock brake wheel speed sensor. Sometimes those are installed on replacement shafts so the part will work on any car with or without ABS, but if your car doesn't have ABS you'll either have to remove that ring or check if there's a metal dust plate in the way.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+2
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 10:59 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
Could it possibly be an alignment problem? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated haven't drove the car in 2 weeks I dont wanna put it in the shop due to money reasons. Been doing alot of research and I cant find anything that would make the axle too short ive seen and looked at many axles and cant find any long enough. About 99% sure im installing it right putting everything back together right. Done alot of thinking and brainstorming I've come up with a few things like maybe the control arm is bent u think? Thank You for any information.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 11:03 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
I'l sya this im not a car expert so im possibly doing this wrong but I will redo and try again in a different order thanks for your information highly appreciated. Not many good peeps around any more
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 11:13 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You still didn't tell me where it's too short. Is it the outer threaded shaft on the cv joint or the entire assembly? Have you compared the two side-by-side to see what's different? If everything else is the same, check the inner joint and be sure it is being pushed out by a really strong spring. If that spring is broken the housing will be able to move about two inches making the assembly too short. That spring keeps the inner joint pushed into the transmission.

Why are you looking at a lot of shafts? If you mean you're searching in a salvage yard you may be looking at too many similar but different models. Rebuilt half shafts are really inexpensive and are normally selected by application. There can be a lot of different part numbers that look the same but will not interchange for a variety of reasons.

An alignment problem won't cause half shaft problems unless it is the result of bent or modified parts, and that damage would have to be pretty severe. The other parts you mentioned suggest the car has been lowered. As a suspension and alignment specialist I have to get very picky about measuring and correcting ride height. Altering it changes the geometry of the steering and suspension systems. If that was done to your car in such a way that it moved the spindle further from the transmission, that could require a longer shaft. Once I showed and explained what happens when ride height is altered, none of my students wanted to do that to their cars. That would be a custom application and you can't rely on factory-original parts to fit and work properly.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, April 6th, 2013 AT 11:25 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
It's too short on the outer side, but if I raise it back up the spindle should move back closer to the the tranny right?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 AT 7:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Nope. If the outer shaft is too short you have the wrong part. Here's a photo from Rock Auto. The outer shaft is shown with the red bracket. If that is too short it is either the wrong cv joint or there's something on it preventing it from seating all the way. You have to compare that to the old one. If the length is the same, look for a ring that is not on the old one, (blue arrow). The joint could be the same for a number of different applications but on some that ring may be used to seal out dirt and water, but on others it may be a part of the wheel bearing seal. In effect you'll have two and one must be removed. Typically the rebuilder includes it in case it's needed and expects you to remove it if it's not. If you fail to do that you will usually still be able to get the shaft through the bearing enough to start the big axle nut but it will rub and get tight, and not turn. The same is true of the anti-lock brake tone ring, (pink arrow). On cars with ABS there might be a notch in the spindle casting to allow clearance for that ring. Without ABS you may need to tap that ring off. You would feel the shaft no longer rotate freely when it's installed as far as it will go. All of that has nothing to do with ride height or spindle position.

If the outer joint goes into the bearing all the way but the overall length, (shown here as 23 1/2") is too short, look if the inner joint extends and collapses freely, (green bracket). There's a really strong spring inside it to push it out. If you can move that joint back and forth about an inch or two on the shaft by hand that spring is broken or missing. It takes a lot of effort to hold that joint collapsed to get that measurement they show.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
Okay I have the 23 1/2 axle and the one I have looks very similar to that one but its still short (red bracket) not enough to tighten the axle nut down
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 AT 8:12 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Then that new shaft is for a different application.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
What do you mean?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, April 8th, 2013 AT 2:16 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You have the wrong outer cv joint. The shaft fits a different car model or year.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, April 8th, 2013 AT 8:35 PM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
Well in that case how would I find the right axle I need?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, April 8th, 2013 AT 11:01 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Are you getting these from a salvage yard or an auto parts store? The guys at the auto parts stores will look up the part by application; the year, model, engine size, and manual or automatic transmission if there's a difference. Sometimes there will be a notation in their books that a part fits only those cars built before or after a certain date. They will ask you to look at the sticker on the car, usually on the back of the driver's door, to find the production date.

The guys at the salvage yards will start the same way by checking if they have a car identical to yours and if the half shafts are still on it. If they don't have an identical car they will look up your half shaft in a "Hollander Guide". That will give the part a three or four-digit code number that they look up in the back half of the book. There it will list all the other applications that use that same part, then they can check if they have any of those cars in their yard or if they have any of those shafts in storage.

Either way the next step is to compare the new one to the old one. If you brought the old one with you they will do that right there to be sure it's right. If there is a difference they will try to figure out what they looked up wrong. It is not unheard of for a rebuilt half shaft, or any other rebuilt part, to get boxed wrong or labeled wrong.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 AT 12:36 AM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
Thats why I said before I've looked at many axles for my car because I thought they were giving me the wrong stuff. I've looked at every parts store around and there all too short.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 AT 1:17 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What's wrong with the old shaft? Have the guys look up just the outer cv joint and see if that's the same. If it's not, have them look at different years or see what other listings they have for Acura.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 AT 1:55 AM
Tiny
TICKLE123
  • MEMBER
The old shaft was fine the joins were just broke so I bought a whole new axle without having to deal with getting new joints put on them
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 AT 3:56 AM
Tiny
CBALT07
  • MEMBER
Did you ever figure out the issue! I am having the EXACT same problem on my Cobalt SS. Axle is too short so I have to stretch it to fit, causing stress at the
U-joint an coming apart when turning. NEED HELP. I have tried all local parts stores and all have been the same axle. Only need to be about an inch bigger as well.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, January 21st, 2017 AT 7:45 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
As CARADIODOC mentioned in the older thread,

Did you have the stores look "UP" or "DOWN" a year or two to see if the shafts might match yours?

You are making a comparison with the New and Old shafts side by side uninstalled?

The Medic
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, January 21st, 2017 AT 8:03 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
'Nuther question

Is this vehicle stock or has it been modified?

The Medic
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, January 21st, 2017 AT 8:05 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides